UVU pedestrian bridge updated rendering

A rendering shows what a pedestrian bridge near Utah Valley University in Orem is anticipated to look like upon completion. 

THUMBS UP & THUMBS DOWN: The voter turnout for an off-year election was high for Utah County standards, with 33% of registered voters participating. With vote-by-mail, however voting has never been easier! We can do it from our couch! There’s really no excuse to shirk one of our most important civil duties anymore and why Utah County can’t see numbers north of 40%.

THUMBS UP: The Utah Valley Earth Forum hosted a discussion recently on how Utah Valley can balance with rapid population and development growth with minimizing environmental impacts. With Utah County being one of the fastest growing counties in the entire country, while simultaneously being one of the worst areas in the country for CO2 emissions, this discussion is incredibly important to have.

THUMBS UP: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra continues taking its unique combination of progressive rock music, unabashed over-the-top stage performance, Christmas storytelling and its platform of “peace on Earth, goodwill to men” to the masses. Wednesday’s two shows at Vivint Smart Home Arena were true spectacles. It’s no wonder so many people say you can’t have the holidays without a TSO concert.

THUMBS UP: It was great to see BYU athletics administrators give football coach Kalani Sitake a 3-year contract extension this week. Talking heads across the state were clamoring for an extension even before the season started — but athletic director Tom Holmoe waited until just the right time to get the deal done. After mostly unexplainable losses to Toledo and Southern Florida midseason, Holmoe had no choice but to wait — allowing Sitake and staff to rebound with robust wins over Boise State and Utah State. With the program appearing to trend up, now is the perfect time to extend.

THUMBS UP: Thanks to BYU football’s blowout win at Utah State a couple weeks back, I can finally hold my head a little bit up when meeting up with extended family (a few who are Aggies) for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I still have to avoid the Ute fans in our family tree. Then again, I’ve been avoiding them so long, it seems, that I can barely remember their names.

THUMBS DOWN: Whoever is writing Joe Biden’s debate material needs to punch their ticket to the unemployment line. When talking about domestic violence at Wednesday’s debate in Atlanta, Georgia, Biden said that we need to keep “punching” at the problem. Thanks, Joe. He also boasted about having the support of the only black woman elected to the Senate — apparently forgetting Kamala Harris, who happened to also be standing on stage as a candidate.

THUMBS DOWN: Getting a bit tired of the talk about how the Utah-Oregon winner absolutely deserves a spot in the College Football Playoffs (which only take four teams). That winner may indeed still earn a berth — but one-loss teams playing in stronger overall conferences, with better wins and a less egregious loss are likely going to keep the Pac-12 champ out of the playoffs yet again.

THUMBS UP:The Provo Police Department and the Utah Cold Case Coalition reopened the cold case on the 1978 murder of Marla Scharp. Family members believe the killer has not been found and new forensic evidence might help with the search. Serial killer Henry Lee Lucas lied when he said he had killed Scharp and later wrote a letter denying hers and about 80 other murders. In short, he had never been to Utah.

THUMBS UP: To the Timpview, Orem and American Fork football teams for reaching their respective state championship games. Hopefully they all go out and play in a way they can be proud of.

THUMBS UP: Thank you to to all those who ran for city council and lost. Thanks for you and your family time, endurance and dedication to make your community and Utah County a better place. The Tuesday canvass of votes solidfied the new councils.

THUMBS UP: To BYU for extending head football coach Kalani Sitake’s contract for four more years. There are still question marks but the Cougars deserve to have continuity and see what Sitake can develop.

THUMBS UP: The pedestrian bridge that will connect the Orem FrontRunner Station to Utah Valley University is finally under construction. The project hasn’t gone according to plan. It is over budget, was supposed to open last August and isn’t the type of bridge it was originally announced to be. But despite those challenges, the project has started now, and will make the trip from Orem’s east to west ends much, much safer.

THUMBS DOWN: As someone who commutes from Lehi, I can’t say I’m too excited about the

Utah Department of Transportation’s announcement that freeway construction will create delays this weekend with I-15 lane closures near Lehi.

Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down includes submissions from the entire Daily Herald staff, and are not necessarily the opinion of the Daily Herald editorial board.

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